0730.00 Bureau Response to Active Violence Incidents

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
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730.00, Bureau Response to Active Violence Incidents


  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Incident Management System (NIMS), 3rd Edition, October 2017
  • DIR 210.21, Leaves from Service
  • DIR 220.40, Lawsuits and Claims
  • DIR 240.00, Employee Assistance Program
  • DIR 240.10, Line of Duty Death
  • DIR 311.30, Off Duty Responsibility of Officers
  • DIR 410.00, Injuries/Occupational Illness/Disability/LOS
  • DIR 415.00, Return to Work Policy
  • DIR 416.00, Critical Incident-Temporary Altered Duty
  • DIR 600.00, Aircraft Use
  • DIR 612.00, Radio Use
  • DIR 630.05, Vehicle Intervention and Pursuits
  • DIR 630.10, Driving Responses
  • DIR 630.15, Foot Pursuits
  • DIR 630.40, Medical Service Policy
  • DIR 630.45, Emergency Medical Custody Transports
  • DIR 630.70, Mobile Audio Video Procedures
  • DIR 631.10, Dead Body Procedures
  • DIR 631.30, Cooperation with Other Agencies
  • DIR 631.35, Press/Media Relations
  • DIR 640.45, Crisis Response Teams
  • DIR 635.10, Crowd Management/Crowd Control
  • DIR 640.02, Photography and Digital Imaging
  • DIR 700.00, National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS)
  • DIR 720.00, Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) Use
  • DIR 740.00, Explosive Devise Incidents and EDU
  • DIR 900.00, General Reporting Guidelines
  • DIR 905.00, Non-Force After Action Reporting
  • DIR 1010.00, Use of Force
  • DIR 1010.10, Deadly Force and In-Custody Death Reporting and Investigation Procedures


Active Violence:An incident involving an armed person(s) who has the ability and intent to use or has used deadly force on other persons and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims. These incidents include circumstances under which the threat of deadly force may include but are not limited to a suspect’s use of knives, firearms, vehicles and/or explosive devices.

Cold Zone:A geographic area where first responders can operate with minimal threat to personal safety or health.

Contact Element:The officer(s) at the scene of an active violence incident tasked with locating the suspect(s) and stopping the threat.

Hot Zone:A geographic area, consisting of the immediate incident location, with a direct and immediate threat to personal safety or health. All violent incidents are considered hot until law enforcement determines otherwise. Only law enforcement should operate in the hot zone.

Incident Commander (IC):The individual responsible for on-scene incident activities, including developing incident objectives and ordering and releasing resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all operations at the incident site.

Unified Command: A structure that brings together the Incident Commanders of major organizations involved in the incident in order to coordinate an effective response, while at the same time allowing each to carry out their own jurisdictional, legal, and functional responsibilities. In this structure, there is no one single IC; the incident is managed by jointly approved objectives identified by participating organizations.

Warm Zone: The geographic area of operation that has been cleared of any immediate safety threats and has security measures in place. This is an area where a victim staging area may be established and life-saving medical care will be provided.


1. The purpose of this directive is to provide protocols for assessing an active violence threat and immediately intervening to limit serious injury or loss of life during such incidents.

2. Active violence incidents pose an ongoing deadly threat to the safety of individuals present at the site of the incident and the community at large. Therefore, it is the policy of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to require immediate reasonable action by its members at the scene of active violence incidents, including the objectively reasonable use of force, to achieve three primary goals: neutralize the threat, prevent access to additional potential victims, and rescue injured victims.


1. The Bureau shall use the national, standardized, and exhaustive system established in the Incident Command System (ICS) to plan and manage significant incidents and events. Members shall refer to Directive 700.00, National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), for specific guidance regarding incident management.

1.1. Depending on the scale of the active violence incident, the individual IC’s role in handling the command function of ICS may be expanded into a Unified Command (UC). Unified Command shall be established as soon as possible for incidents in which multiple jurisdictions and agencies are involved in a collective response effort.

2. Individual Member Intervention Prior to Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) Notification.

2.1. In some instances, an individual member may be present in or near the active violence location (e.g., a mall or school). Whether on or off duty, in uniform or civilian clothes, the member may determine that immediate action is necessary and reasonable to stop the threat(s). However, the member must contemplate whether they are capable of effectively intervening based on their training and equipment.

2.2. When displaying firearms while in plainclothes, members shall, if feasible, verbally identify themselves as law enforcement officials, and conspicuously display their badges and/or other law enforcement identification to alert security personnel, arriving members, or civilians who may be armed.

2.3. When tactically feasible, members shall notify BOEC that an active violence situation exists. The member(s) should provide the following information and updates as available:

2.3.1. A description of the suspect;

2.3.2. General location of the suspect; and

2.3.3. An estimated number of victims.

3. Situational Assessment.

3.1. Based on available information, members already at the incident scene shall attempt to verify that an active violence situation exists through information provided by communications personnel; from persons confined within or exiting the target location; from witnesses; by reports of, or indicators of active violence; or through related means.

3.2. As time and resources permit, members on-scene shall ask witnesses or others for any detailed information about the incident so they form a tactical response to locate the suspect(s). Members on-scene shall communicate the information they gathered and broadcast their situation over the radio to inform responding members.

4. Contact Element(s) Response.

4.1. The objective of the contact element is to locate and neutralize the threat(s). Even if the threat seemingly has been terminated, contact element(s) are required to render the location safe, assist in screening and the orderly evacuation of persons to a designated area, and locating any other persons still in hiding.

4.2. Multiple contact elements may be needed to locate the assailant(s) and neutralize the threat(s) to the public.

4.3. When feasible, the contact element(s) shall attempt to provide a clear communications channel to supply the following types of information:

4.3.1. Actions with regard to the suspect(s) and

4.3.2. The location and number of victims and their medical needs.

4.4. The contact element(s) shall locate the suspect(s) in the most expeditious manner possible in order to stop the threat(s). In an active violence situation, the priority of members is to neutralize the threat(s), not to render medical aid to injured victims.

4.5. In the absence of clear indicators, members shall search the scene with the intent of locating the assailant(s) and/or injured persons.

4.6. Arriving tactical or other officers should be called upon to help clear the location of potential suspects, locate and evacuate persons in hiding, and render safe any dangerous munitions or armament.

4.7. After neutralizing the threat(s) and clearing the location, the contact element(s) shall immediately shift their objective to providing medical response.

5. Incident Commander Responsibilities.

5.1. The IC shall ensure that the following actions are accomplished:

5.1.1. Ensure the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) is activated in accordance with Directive 720.00, Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) Use;

5.1.2. Ensure the Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) is notified in accordance with Directive 740.00, Explosive Device Incidents and EDU, if there are confirmed or suspected reports of explosive devices present at the incident site.

5.1.3. Establish a command post and assign a recorder to document actions;

5.1.4. Organize and establish unified interagency communication(s) with other essential agencies responding to the incident scene such as Portland Fire and Rescue (PF&R), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and other law enforcement agencies;

5.1.5. Establish an inner perimeter to control access to and egress from the area of risk;

5.1.6. Establish an outer perimeter;

5.1.7. Establish staging areas in the cold zone for the following purposes and notify BOEC of their locations: For responding members and other emergency personnel (A staging area manager designated by the IC shall brief arriving personnel, maintain communication with the contact element(s), and assign duties as directed by the IC.); For treatment of the injured and evacuation by EMS or medevac; Where individuals without injuries should be directed for identification and debriefing (evacuation area); To accommodate arriving family members and/or friends of persons at the incident scene (Resource center); and For the media (This Joint Information Center should be staffed with appropriate personnel, such as public information officers.)

5.1.8. Ensure that members assigned to the notification center maintain accountability of the individuals involved in the incident by documenting their identities until they can be reunited with family or others. Victims and witnesses suffering from emotional and/or physical trauma or shock should be kept under the observation of medical personnel until such time as they may be safely transported to a hospital or home in the care of family or friends;

5.1.9. Summon chaplains and peer support officers to provide emotional support to victims and witnesses and information to family and friends of the victims;

5.1.10. Request mutual aid, if necessary;

5.1.11. Establish traffic control and management for the ingress and egress of public safety vehicles. Special consideration should be given to maintain open routes for rapid transport of the injured;

5.1.12. Contact appropriate aviation resources to control air space for possible medical evacuation resources and to establish restricted air space for law enforcement use only;

5.1.13. Request emergency medical assistance;

5.1.14. Coordinate with PF&R and EMS to deploy the Rescue Task Force (RTF) but only after the contact element(s) has made entry, provided a status report, notified the command post of the location of victims, established warm zones, and determined that rescue efforts may begin;

5.1.15. Initiate intelligence gathering on possible suspects;

5.1.16. Coordinate with owners or officials of the target location for floor plans; site layout; and a roster, including emergency contact information as available, of employees, students, residents, visitors, or others believed to be on-site;

5.1.17. Coordinate with investigative units to ensure the scene is properly preserved once the event enters the criminal investigation phase; and

5.1.18. Write an After Action in accordance with Directive 905.00, Non-Force After Action Reporting, or 1010.00, Use of Force, if force was used. For incidents involving uses of deadly force, death as a result of member use of force or an in-custody death, members shall adhere to reporting and investigation requirements set forth in Directive 1010.10, Deadly Force and In-Custody Death Reporting and Investigation Procedures.

6. Reunification Process.

6.1. Depending on the nature and location of an active violence incident, the IC must determine whether to evacuate and transport uninjured victims and witnesses to another location. In circumstances where evacuation is necessary, the IC shall broadcast over the radio the need for a reunification site away from the incident area to reunite family and friends. The IC or their designee shall:

6.1.1. Identify a location in reasonable proximity to the incident area that has the capacity to receive the appropriate amount of individuals;

6.1.2. Identify a secondary location in the event the primary reunification site is overwhelmed;

6.1.3. Identify resources to adequately staff the reunification site(s);

6.1.4. Acquire or request transportation assets (e.g., Trimet buses, school buses, private charter buses) to transport individuals from the incident area to the reunification site(s);

6.1.5. Direct the evacuation and transportation of individuals from the incident area to the designated reunification site(s); and

6.1.6. Communicate with members positioned at the reunification site(s) on the status of evacuation and transportation of individuals from the incident area.

6.2. Members assigned to the reunification site(s) shall:

6.2.1. Direct vehicles transporting evacuated individuals from the incident area to a secure assembly area out of view of the check-in location for family or friends.

6.2.2. Establish a check-in location for individuals searching for family or friends involved in the active violence incident.

6.2.3. Greet and inform family and friends checking-in of the reunification process and request that they provide basic information of the individuals they are searching for so that members can identify and reunite the proper individual(s).

6.2.4. Reunify individuals from the secure assembly area with family or friends in a separate reunion area.

6.3. Detectives assigned to investigate the active violence incident shall attempt to locate, identify, and interview witnesses while being mindful and considerate of the situation.

7. Community Notification.

7.1. The PIO or other designated individual(s) shall be responsible for ensuring appropriate information is distributed in a timely manner to the community. This may include:

7.1.1. Shelter in place warnings for nearby locations during active shooter situations;

7.1.2. Alerts to avoid the area due to heavy law enforcement activity and potential road closures; and

7.1.3. Specific directions for individuals who elect to visit the scene.

7.2. The PIO or other designated individual may communicate with the Bureau of Emergency Management to broadcast alerts through the community emergency notification system.

8. Debriefing.

8.1. The Bureau shall schedule an informal debrief with all responding Bureau members to discuss the events as they unfolded in real time as soon as practical, after the incident. This debrief should address the initial notification and response of an active violence incident to actions taken to neutralize the threat and then the transition to search and rescue of injured persons.

8.2. As soon as reasonably possible after the incident, the IC shall hold a formal debrief of the incident to discuss the overall plan, tactics, staffing and areas of improvement. The debrief should include key supervisory member participants in the incident, as well as command staff representatives from Training Division, Professional Standards Division and the Chief’s Office.

8.3. The Bureau’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Coordinator shall schedule a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing for Bureau members involved in the incident as well as other personnel who were directly impacted (e.g., dispatchers, emergency medical responders). Members shall refer to Directive 416.00, Critical Incident-Temporary Altered Duty, for additional information.

9. Training.

9.1. The Bureau shall provide initial and ongoing active violence training to all sworn personnel, including simulation exercises conducted in schools and other facilities and partnering first response agencies, where appropriate.


- Originating Directive Date: 09/03/19

- Last Revision Signed: 09/03/19

- Effective Date: 10/03/19

- Next Review Date: 10/03/20

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